Keeping Up (in which I ride at night a great deal).

An attack on Hopi's rock-like hooves last weekend marked finally being caught up on all my feet (24 of them). And now that all the horses extremities are back under control I'm hopeful that I'll be able to maintain regular and sensible trimming intervals (best laid plans of mice, etc, notwithstanding <mutter>).

My "real job" work schedule continues to be bananas (this has been going on for well-over a month, so I don't think I can blame it on the full moon) so I've been taking the riding when I can - which has meant for plentiful night riding recently.

moon

To say I've been enjoying the big fat moon would be an understatement. Uno continues with his daily rehab rides and Roo gets ponied along as a chaperone/confidence booster. They both went through a peculiarly (read "unnatural") mellow period last week. It seemed that night riding with a full moon gave enough light to keep them comfortable, but not enough light to provide items to spook at. Several times I even rode Roo bareback and ponied Uno, an activity I haven't done in over 30 years.

Predictably all good things come to an end and last night the moon didn't come up until we were done with our excursion. Both horses reacted to the darkness accordingly by leaping around at inopportune moments and treating the trash can at the bottom of the driveway (the same trash can they'd passed four times in the last two days) like a lurking eye-plucker.

Awk! Too much toe!!!

Awk! Too much toe!!!

Uno continues to grow wodges of toe that need removing (remember, he's recovering from a suspensory injury so one of my prime directives is to keep his toes as short as possible to avoid stressing the ligament any more than necessary), but he's also living on rubber matting and his feet aren't exactly getting the callousing they need. As a result he was a little ouchy on our long large-gravel driveway this past week so I have been popping front Gloves on his front feet. And these doubled as anti-skid devices during his trash-can evasion techniques when we were on the only 100 yrds of pavement we have to negotiate. <phew>

On Friday my husband (who was working at home) very kindly offered to bring Jackit to the trailhead at Cool so I could squeeze in an after-work solo ride. Unfortunately Small Thing had other ideas and, although for once the traffic was light enough that I arrived on time, Patrick spent a happy 20 minutes chasing a giggling Small Thing around the paddock so they didn't appear until around 8:10 pm - sunset was a 8:05 pm. Hmmm. No matter - the moon was huge so I figured we'd ride until we were able and I could always hand-walk Jackit in if it became too much for him.

Small Thing is currently wearing a set of 00.5 Gloves on the front and 00s on the back. Even though his feet are still somewhat of a funky shape and I don't consider the fit to be ideal, they are working great. They take about five minutes to put on but the rush is usually to get them on before he poops and stands in it (a pattern I've noticed the last few outings). Because he's still green and excited, the poop that comes out is particularly squishy so even more pleasant (not) to have to work around. Quick, quick, get those boots on!

As it turns out, Jackit had no worries about being out alone in the dark. On the contrary, he seemed to think it was quite fun and even when we started to make our way back towards the trailhead, he tried to take all the turn offs that headed away from where we were parked.

To begin with, I kept us out in the open where the moon glowed down on us while the cicadas chirrupped and the bullfrogs boomed in the nearby lakes. His main objection was to the overgrowing star-thistle that was poking him in legs (planning to dig out some splint boots for him for times when I know we'll be in the thisle). After an hour or so, I opted to take a trail that he'd been on before but was much more tree-covered and narrow. He was less happy about this development (that, or he didn't like my singing), but even so he still managed to get us around a downed tree (that confused me - I didn't remember any large bush on that particular section of the trail) and through some thick brambles without incident.

Jackit stuffing it all in

We finished up around 10:15 pm - mostly driven in by my hunger (he'd been stuffing grass in the whole way so didn't have that problem). So much fun!

In fact, it was such fun that the following evening Patrick and I went out and rode at Cronan Ranch (another wide open area) until past 11 pm. Patrick doesn't particularly like riding at night but told me that riding when it's as bright as day doesn't count. The views along the river and up on the high ridge were just magical and I can't help but think how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place and get to share it with our equine buddies.

(note, I admit it. The above wasn't what I was thinking last night during the trash can evasion activities. But you know what I mean).

Good times.

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California


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